Sunday, March 21, 2010

Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)

I saw "Nosferatu the Vampyre" at the Egyptian theater this weekend.  Director Werner Herzog was there in person and he spoke after the film.  Herzog was an incredible character and seems like a real joy to work with.

I love the original version of "Nosferatu".  I was curious about this version as I have seen many pictures from it in the pages of "Famous Monsters of Filmland" and various other monster books I own.  This version is very similar to the silent one, but it is not nearly as good.

The photography was incredible in Herzog's "Nosferatu".  Everything looked beautiful.  Jonathan Harker's journey to Dracula's Castle is where the cinematography really shines.  The locations are beautiful and the Dracula ruins are unique in their own right.  There is one shot that I love where Herzog uses time lapse photography on Dracula's Castle showing day turning to night.

Klaus Kinski plays Dracula and he did a great job.  Through his actions, he displayed sympathy, terror, threat, and yearning.  It was a terrific job that only he could do.  The make-up was very good as it was very similar to Schreck's version, but unfortunately Kinski doesn't have the unique face of Schreck.  The profile of Schreck's Nosferatu is classic.  His nose is so distinctive that you could never miss it.  Kinski didn't have that unique quality in his actual bone structure.  

There are several good things about the movie that differ from the original.  I like how Dracula is not keen on being immortal, a real plague has followed Dracula what with all of the rats he has brought, and the ending has a little twist that is very good.

Even with all of these good things, the film does lack.  It was very talky and frankly boring in many sections.  Even though it was shot beautifully, it doesn't have the look or horror of the original "Nosferatu".  

"Nosferatu the Vampyre" has its high points mixed with some low points.  It should be viewed for it's beautiful cinematography, great acting by Kinski, a great musical score, and a great third act.  But if I had to pick between this version or the silent one, give me the silent one any day.

C+  I recommend it.

No comments:

Post a Comment